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South Dakota company promotes ‘Hay Manager’ to raise efficiency

MINOT, N.D. — If you’re involved with production livestock and care about efficiency, Andy Lacey says he has a product for you.

“We help farmers succeed by becoming more efficient,” Lacey says of the Hay Manager, which reduces waste and mold by storing hay bales off the ground. “This can pay for itself in a year.”

Lacey exhibited his product at the annual KMOT Ag Expo in Minot, N.D., where he talked with Agweek on Jan. 29.

The Hay Manager was developed 17 years ago by Ted Lacey, Andy’s father, a farmer and entrepreneur. Until recently, the company focused sales efforts primarily in the Trent, S.D., area, which is near Sioux Falls. Now, however, the company has expanded its focus and works with customers from a much bigger region.

The Hay Manager uses cone rods, which connect to 14-gauge steel panels, to suspend hay off the ground. A normal big hay bale weights 1,000 pounds. Using the Hay Manager will cut waste by 10 percent, or 100 pounds, according to the company.

The Hay Manager comes in different models for different animals.  The cattle model, for instance has an 8-foot diameter, a height of 5 or 6 feet and a head opening of 16 inches. The sheep and goat model, in contrast, has a 6-, 7- or 8-foot diameter, a height of 5 feet and a head opening of 7 inches.

Prices vary, depending on the animal and the efficiency of the model.  

A “good” cattle manager, rated 95 percent efficient, costs $815, with a “best” cattle manager, rated 97 percent efficient, costing $981.

The two horse models cost $886 and $974, with the calf and sheep models costing $751 and $816.

According to company figures, more expensive models reduce waste even further. So, someone who feeds a lot of hay would do better with a more expensive model, while someone who feels a relatively small amount of hay would be interested in a less expensive model.

The models vary in weight from 410 to 640 pounds.

The Hay Manager makes economic sense even if hay prices aren't particularly high, Lacey says.

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